Coronavirus: 10 Covid patients killed in fire at Romanian intensive care unit

The fire was "most likely triggered by a short circuit". Credit: AP

At least 10 coronavirus patients have been killed in a fire at a Romanian intensive care unit, officials have said.

Seven other patients were critically injured in the blaze, which spread through a Covid-19 intensive care ward at the public hospital in the northern city of Piatra Neamt.

Everyone killed or injured in the fire was a hospital patient, except one, said Irina Popa an emergency services spokeswoman.

The facade of the hospital is blackened by smoke Credit:

The fire burned through two rooms housing 16 ICU patients before it was put out, Ms Popa said.

She says it is believed the people killed "were infected with Covid-19”.

The fire was "most likely triggered by a short circuit," said Romanian health minister, Nelu Tataru.

News outlets reported that the Piatra Neamt Regional Emergency Hospital has long been poorly managed, with eight government-appointed managers overseeing the facility in the last year.

The hospital’s current manager, Lucian Micu, was appointed just three weeks ago after his predecessor resigned over the poor treatment of patients.

The resignation followed media reports of patients, including many suspected to have Covid-19, being forced to wait outside in the cold to see a doctor.

A burned bed from the destroyed ward Credit: Exploziv TV Neamt/AP

Mr Micu said that a doctor on duty tried to save the patients from the flames and was in critical condition with first- and second-degree burns covering 80% of his body.

Another doctor and two nurses also were being treated for burns.

It comes five year's after one of Romania's most deadly fires, which killed 64 people at the Collectiv nightclub in Bucharest and injured 146.

Piatra Neamt is about 353 kilometers (219 miles) north of Romania's capital, Bucharest.